First Jump Course

The Very First Step to Become a Licensed Skydiver

First Jump Course Outline

The best way to describe the first jump course is like a 6h interactive theater in which you will take part and learn about the story of one skydive jump. On this jump, everything that should go right and everything that can go wrong, will happen.

If you think in terms of the timeline of a jump, what you get is the outline of this 6h play in which you’ll take part. And it goes as follows: 

Skydive Sequence of Events

1 – First we grab our parachutes and accessories

2 – Jumpers walk to the airplane

3 – Time to board the airplane and take-off

4 – Skydivers spend about 15 minutes climbing to jump altitude (Enjoy the view and concentrate on your jump briefing.)

5 – Time to get ready to skydive (Final check on your parachute and rigs, from head to toe, or better… from helmet to shoe laces.)  

6 – We move to the door. Instructor checks the jump spot. Ready, set, GO!

7 – Now we’re in freefall for about 50 seconds at about 130mph

8 – At 6000 feet it is time to open your parachute

9 – After your canopy is fully deployed it is time for the safety checks

10 – Time to control your parachute through the skies towards the landing area (Yes, you’ll have radio orientation until you get proficient at this!)

11 – You’re now getting close to the ground and flying the final approach and landing

12 – Touch down! Retrieve the parachute and walk to the packing area.

Woooww!!! After more than 25 years and almost 6,000 jumps I still feel some adrenaline rush just by writing this to you.

Skydiving Phases Explanation

We’re going to present and discuss each of those 12 phases of a skydive jump, teaching you what to expect under normal circumstances, as well as things that can go wrong during each of those phases and how to deal with them.

Phase 1

In phase 1 for example, we are going to show you a parachute and teach you all you need to know about it. The instructor will manually deploy the parachute on the ground and show you each of its parts, as well as teach you the names and technical terms. 

Did you know that every student parachute is equipped with an Automatic Activation Device – AAD. Yes, there’s a little electronic device that deploys your reserve canopy in case something major prevents you from doing it yourself.

Phase 2

In phase 2 you’ll learn how to properly approach an airplane and what are the safety measures we take in order to make this as safe as possible.

Everything in skydiving is about risk management. While skydiving is an inherently and potentially dangerous activity, it can be safely done if the proper procedures are followed. And a lot was learned about proper procedures in the past 60 years since USPA and civilian skydiving started to grow strong.

Since we do not have flight attendants on skydiving airplanes, in phase 3 you’ll get the airplane emergency briefing. We’re just about to get airborne, now things get more serious and we do need to know and understand the possible scenarios of an airplane emergency, and what to do in each situation. Should we jump, should we not? Should we use the main or the reserve canopy?

Fast Forwarding to Phase 6

This is still, at least for me, the most exciting part of a skydive. That door is like a portal, an interface between a universe where the physics of contact and balance are imperative, to a universe where we flow with gravity, where speed, airflow, aerodynamics makes you become one with those forces and become a core part of the physics of fluid dynamics. There’s a lot to learn about this phase and how to get the best possible airplane exit which will lead you to a much better performance during the freefall about to happen.

Phases 8 & 9

Those phases are usually the ones that cause the most apprehension to jumpers, the phases of initiating the parachute deployment and checking if it is a good parachute, or not. During the training for those phases you’ll wear a parachute. We’ll spend quite some time discussing things that can go wrong if a parachute does not deploy properly. We’ll teach you about how to identify a normal expected parachute canopy vs. a canopy with a malfunction. You’ll learn how to properly test your parachute to decide if it is a parachute suitable for a good landing, or if you need to fix something before proceeding, and if necessary to perform an emergency procedure to replace your main parachute with your reserve parachute.

Phases 10 to 12

Training for phases 10 to 12 involves a lot of examples, walking around and simulating different scenarios where winds coming from all different directions affect your parachute flight and landing. 

Most of the first jump course will be focused on phases 8 to 11. Those are the phases with the most amount of variables involved, and the phases which, if not properly done can potentially increase the risks of your skydive.

Written Test

After all training is done you’ll receive a written test to evaluate how well you have absorbed all the content provided. You need a 100% score, if you get anything wrong, further training and discussion will be provided in order to clarify any inconsistencies.

Now it’s time to take it to the skies and go skydiving. Want to find out more details about the AFF program and each of its jumps?

Click here to learn even further!

AFF Registration

To register and request a date for your AFF Ground School, please take the time to fill out the information below.